Interdisciplinary Teams in Healthcare: We’re All in This Together

analytical Essay
820 words
820 words

In 1987, when I began working for The Emory Clinic, the physician group associated with Emory University, the name Emory seemed to be the only thing the clinic had in common with the hospitals also affiliated with Emory University. Each hospital operated as its own entity with little coordination between them other than a shared billing system. The Emory Clinic (TEC) was further removed due to the differences in providing care in an ambulatory setting versus a hospital environment. TEC’s organizational hierarchy at the time was an organization populated by silos based on clinical specialties. Further alienation within those clinical sections could be found between the front office staff and clinical staff. And on the outside trying to manage it all, and ensure financial stability, was TEC administration and the business office. Cowen, Halasyamani, McMurtrie, Hoffman, Polley, and Alexander (2008) cited Neuhauser (1972) as having described a similar organizational structure as “a generic health system schematic consisted of a matrix of vertical clinical and ancillary departments crossed by ad hoc ensembles of workers involved in patients' care” (p. 408). Fast forward to 2013 and Emory Healthcare is the largest integrated healthcare system in the state of Georgia with affiliates throughout the state. The organizational structure is very different and no longer contains lines of demarcation. Process improvements are designed by interdisciplinary teams that represent the key stakeholders in the process, which includes the patient, physician, clinical and administrative support staff. This change in culture is a result of the successful creation of those interdisciplinary teams which included the identification of common goals and va...

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...ory Healthcare. That climate that is a result of a focused effort to bring about change through interdisciplinary teamwork.

Works Cited

Begun, J. W., White, K. R., & Mosser, G. (2011). Interprofessional care teams: the role of the healthcare administrator. Journal Of Interprofessional Care, 25(2), 119-123. doi:10.3109/13561820.2010.504135
Birken, S.A., Lee, S.D., & Weiner, B.J. (2012) Uncovering middle managers' role in healthcare innovation implementation. Implementation Science, 7(1), 28-39. doi:10.1186/1748-5908-7-28
Cowen, M. E., Halasyamani, L. K., McMurtrie, D., Hoffman, D., Polley, T., & Alexander, J. A. (2008). Organizational Structure for Addressing the Attributes of the Ideal Healthcare Delivery System. Journal Of Healthcare Management, 53(6), 407-419.
Newstrom, J. W. (2011). Organizational behavior: Human behavior at work. Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that emory healthcare is the largest integrated healthcare system in georgia with affiliates throughout the state.
  • Explains that the need for interdisciplinary teams within emory healthcare was realized during the implementation of a system wide electronic medical record.
  • Explains that middle managers are in the best position to serve as communicators. they can encourage employee acceptance of change, identify tasks required to implement change and interpret and share information.
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